By Gavin Menu
Many of the world’s best horses and riders, including Olympic medalists and Grand Prix stars, will compete at the 38th Annual Hamptons Class Horse Show in Bridgehampton from August 25 to September 1.
And it all begins with opening day this Sunday, where local riders and children will have their moments in the spotlight at one of the most prestigious horse shows in the world gets under way.
In the Anne Aspinall Ring at 8 a.m. on Sunday, local professional hunters will compete, followed by junior hunters and amateurs in the Hunter Ring at 2 p.m. Children’s Equitation, one of the highlights of the week, will be held in the Hunter Ring first thing in the morning at 8 a.m. and in the Annex at 8:30 a.m.
There will also be a major professional event on opening day, the $50,000 Hampton Classic Hunter Derby presented by Hamptons Escape. It will be the first chance for spectators to see some of the best riders in the world in competition.
“Once again we are thrilled to welcome many of the world’s best riders back to the Hampton Classic,” said Shanette Barth Cohen, the show’s Executive Director. “These stars of our sport will be competing every day and they will be looking to qualify for our main event, the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix.”
The FTI Grand Prix will be the final event of the week, held on Sunday, September 1 at 2 p.m., highlighting three consecutive days of Grand Prix competition. The $50,000 Spy Coast Farm/Young Horse Show Series Grand Prix Qualifier Presented by Longines on Friday is followed by the $40,000 Longines Cup on Saturday, all leading into the big event on Sunday, which is also an FEI World Cup Qualifier.
Kent Farrington, who won the FTI Grand Prix last year on his mount, Voyeur, returns along with an impressive field of professional riders, including Olympic Gold Medalists Joe Fargis, Beezie Madden and McLaine Ward, who has won the Classic’s featured event a record six times.
Ward and Madden, the reigning FEI World Cup Champion, have been teammates on the United States’ last three Olympic teams, including the 2004 and 2008 Gold Medal teams. The Classic’s FTI Grand Prix is part of the Taylor Harris Triple Crown Challenge, which awards a $200,000 bonus should the same horse-and-rider combination win the Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon, the FTI Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic, and the Alltech Grand Prix at the Alltech National Horse Show. Ward won the Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon on Rothchild in May and now stands to win the $200,000 bonus should he ride Rothchild to wins at the remaining two events.
Fargis won double Gold Medals at the 1984 Olympic Games, and has been champion of the Classic’s featured Grand Prix three times. Additional Olympic veterans entered to compete include Mario Deslauriers, Margie Engle and Peter Leone of the United States, as well as Kevin Babington of Ireland and Ljubov Kochetova of Russia.
Joining them will be other top U.S. stars including Christine McCrea, double Gold Medalist at the 2011 Pan American Games, Molly Ashe-Cawley, Georgina Bloomberg, Saer Coulter, Katie Dinan, Brianne Goutal, Charlie Jayne, Quentin Judge, Candice King, Todd Minikus, Schuyler Riley, Hillary Simpson, Callan Solem, Jimmy Torano, Jeffery Welles and Heather Caristo-Williams.
Other international stars entered to compete include Darragh Kerins, Richie Maloney, Ronan McGuigan, Paul O’Shea, Shane Sweetnam, Jonathon Millar, Ramiro Quintana and Thaisa Erwin.
For those who can’t make it to the show grounds, WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station of the Hampton Classic, will broadcast up to five hours of competition and highlights each day. WPPB 88.3 FM will also be broadcasting live from the show grounds.